The World’s first passenger drone may have stolen the headlines at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) but connected living formed the heart of the Las Vegas show, with everything from smart home appliances and connected cars to fitness-based wearables and virtual reality headsets on display.
Connected living: home automation
Home automation was a particularly strong theme at CES with a raft of new smart appliances. British start-up business Smarter – known for its smart kettle and coffee machine – launched a range of affordable kitchen products such as mats and cameras to let users check what they have left in the fridge and kitchen cupboards via their smartphone. Moving onto larger appliances, Marathon Laundry – founded by former Apple product developer Glenn Reid – revealed a washer/dryer packed full of sensors to gather customer data and enable it to learn; optimising its service over time.
Connected living: cars
While connected cars was another major category at the event – with automotive manufacturers from multiple global markets in attendance – the link with connected living and the home remained strong. At its CES press conference Ford announced a partnership with Amazon to link its SYNC 3 system with the Amazon Echo home automation hub and Alexa smart voice assistant. Soon Ford drivers will be able to ask their cars to switch the lights or heating on at home, or ask their homes to start the car for them. Inevitably self-driving cars were high on the agenda, with Volvo, GM, and Ford all announcing plans to develop autonomous vehicles.
Connected living: wearables
Wearables was the final category of connected devices to cause a stir, with Under Armour and HTC joining forces to launch HealthBox – a range of health monitoring devices – and the announcement of the FitBit Blaze, a fitness-focussed smartwatch. While not exactly part of the wearable category, virtual reality was a key theme throughout the event. The Oculus Rift VR gaming headset was officially launched, and the more serious side of virtual reality was also illustrated by Mirama who demonstrated how the technology could be used by surgeons in the operating theatre to access vital patient data.
Smart brands realise connected living is not just about novelty gadgets and space-age functionality, it’s about providing real value for consumers and establishing a direct line of communication. This was illustrated by innovations such as the smart skin patch from L’Oreal, which works with the user’s smartphone to tell them how much exposure their skin has had to the sun. The personal nature of connected products means they can be used to find out more about the consumer, get closer to their everyday lives, and ultimately to sell to them. This article from ExchangeWire outlines how existing programmatic advertising technology could soon be combined with a connected device, such as a fridge, to sell directly to consumers through their smart appliances, dramatically improving the relevance of advertising and shortening the path to purchase.
Connected living – through home automation, connected cars, wearables, and even virtual reality – may not be a new concept but the products revealed at CES 2016 bring us far closer to making it a reality, and provide marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to get closer to consumers though the everyday objects in their lives.